Habits : our mindless rituals

Rituals have existed since the beginning of time. Humans have created rituals around times of the day, times in the season/of the year and times in life. The purpose of rituals is multiple. From one perspective we can see the practical side or remembering how to do something or even just, remember to actually do it. We could say that it’s a procedure of how to perform something. It also situates us therefore in time and space. It regulates us.

It soothes us.

When we perform a ritual we need to be aware of what we are doing, what comes next and how to finalise it. There is a beginning, middle and end. 

There is an immediate feedback loop : we can see, feel and acknowledge the result instantly.

A ritual is not necessarily difficult but it demands focus on the task and it brings a sense of satisfaction as we skillfully execute.

Interestingly enough, these are exactly the ingredients in what we call the flow state. 

In order to enter flow, Csikszentmihalyi who came up with the concept, noted down a couple of points that were necessary. When we are in the flow state, we are close to a complete absorption just like in a higher state of mediation. It is the creative state as well, artists aim for flow when they want to produce a new piece. Athletes are in flow when they perform really well and are winning. 

And there is an aspect of openness, effortlessness that is also our most healing state of the organism. We are not contracted, angry, trying, pushing. 


That aspect is crucial to reap the benefits of the ritual, on any level. As soon as our focus goes away from what we are doing, we also tend to lose the effortless state of mind. 

We can turn our attention towards something else while we are performing our ritual.

We can for instance start to plan for the day or we can be obsessing about that conversation from yesterday. 

This happens when we let the subconscious part of ourselves take over. 

To illustrate this easily : the first time you were driving a car on your own, you were very focused on the ritual of starting the car, making your way out of the parked position and driving away.

Yet, years later you did this with skill and maybe being very upset over the fact that you were late for work and would probably get in trouble with the boss. 


Driving has become second nature. 


Now just like anything that becomes second nature, we lose the conscious control over it and our minds can go back to its habitual pattern of things we don’t really want to be our habits. 

This is the reason we find it so hard to change habits. We do them as a second nature, our mind is somewhere else. 

Just like : wanting to control, complaining, worst case scenario thinking. They are the perception of the world that we have adopted. 

We perform them so skillfully so we don’t have to think about what we are doing. 


What is needed to make them change is to replace them with a new, chosen ritual (habit).

Our brain is wired for familiarity, so it is difficult to remove a habit without replacing it. But we can choose what to replace it with. 


When we want to heal, when we want to take our current state of suffering into a freedom state, this is what we need to focus on. We do it either from our mental focus, our physical well being or a spiritual seeking. 


Whether it’s psychotherapy, taking the yogic path or adopting the Ayurvedic lifestyle : these are all systems that help us to elevate ourselves. They allow us to bring our mindless rituals into the light of awareness and then consciously replace them with chosen new ones that bring us balance and wellbeing on a physical, mental and emotional plane.


This is exactly what my online program does to you : we start off with looking at what you do know right now and want to change. We then implement all three systems : approaching the mental state, the emotional state and the physical over 8 weeks of work together.

Get in touch with me for more information or even check the landing page of the program here.

Hi, I’m Charlotte (Yogi Cha). I’m a yoga teacher with a degree in clinical psychology. I’ve always had a deep curiosity toward eastern and western approaches to understanding the mind, and the ming/body union. You’ll find me in the lovely Canggu Bali, nestled amongst coconuts, palm trees and sunshine 🥥🌴🌞